Beauty

Fourth Ray Impressions

Yeah…. I’m not a very consistent blogger. I get distracted easily and I kinda forgot this blog existed for over a year. My bad. Anyways, new post!

Colourpop is a brand that even though I was vaguely aware of I didn’t really become acquainted with until recently and I fell in love, but that’s another post. This post is about Colourpop’s new sister brand of skincare, Fourth Ray.

I purchased all these products with my own cash money because I wanted to try them. I was not compensated for this review in any way, shape or form! 

I’m a sucker for skincare, I’m always trying to find THE ONE. I’ve gotten close with a few products but holy hell the cost makes the wallet weep. When I saw Colourpop post about Fourth Ray I had to pop in for a look. My first impressions were a little meh. The products are fairly generic, nothing wild or crazy with the exception of the whole quartz angle. Personally, the quartz stuff doesn’t really matter to me. There’s only one line of products so if it doesn’t work with your skin type you are out of luck. But, on the upside, because the products are your usual lineup of cleanser, toner, light moisturizer they aren’t exactly going to rock the boat like say a serum. And then, there’s the price point, which is fantastic. The low price point and the fact that none of the products had Vitamin E made me roll the dice on a the full set minus the trendy accessories they also sell. Though, that cat headband was pretty cute.

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Before I get to my first impressions let me give you a run down on my skin type. I have combination skin. Dry as the Tanaris desert on my cheeks and oily like the Lakkari Tar Pits on my T-Zone. I’m pushing 40 but I still experience hormonal breakouts which make me rage like the teenager those breakouts should have stayed on. I also have super sensitive skin. I am allergic to vitamin E and ultra sensitive to collagen. I also have mild rosacea on my cheeks.

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BFD – Cleansing Oil $14 for 4.15 fl. oz.
{currently using Trader Joe’s Micellar Wipes $3.99 for 20 wipes, Marcelle Micellar Water $17 for 13.5 fl. oz., and Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover $11 for 4.2 fl. Oz.}
BFD is gunning to be a dupe to Tatcha’s obscenely priced Camellia Cleansing Oil which retails for $48 for 5.1 fl. oz. BFD even has camellia in it. I’ve tried three samples of Tatcha and it is effective but it’s always irritated my eyes so I was excited to try BFD. I wore a full face of makeup to test the powers of BFD. And, for the most part, it did an admirable job. I was able to take off all of my foundation and face makeup but struggled to get my waterproof eyeliner off. In fairness though, I struggle with it every single time I wear it. I usually end up using every makeup remover in my arsenal to get it off. BFD also struggled a bit with the rest of my eye makeup, especially lower eye makeup it couldn’t reach well, and my staining liquid lipstick. If you don’t wear a ton of eye makeup this cleansing oil will work a treat to take off most of your makeup and will do it gently. I was pretty impressed. BFD worked as well as Tatcha has for me at a fraction of the cost. Win.
TL;DR: No fragrance. Oily consistency that emulsifies with water. Removed everything but waterproof eyeliner, some of my eyeshadow and some of my liquid lipstick. Kinda irritated my eyes. Excellent value!

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AM to the PM – Gel Cleanser $12 for 5.8 fl. oz.

{currently using whatever I have on hand}
I honestly don’t care what cleanser I use. As long as it takes off the remains of the day I’m happy enough. I rarely buy cleansers because I have a billion sample bottles of cleansers that I just cycle through. I feel like most cleansers don’t make a huge difference in my skin to spend much on them. That said, this cleanser works great and I liked it enough that I’d likely repurchase it. There’s a ton of product in here and I only needed 1 pump on my Foreo Luna to lather up enough for my whole face. It’s going to last me forever. Every time I’ve used this I’ve been pleased with how clean it rinses. My skin is left feeling clean but not tight and itchy.
TL;DR: Smells like cucumber. Gel like consistency. Lathers up like a dream, 1 pump was all that was needed with a Foreo Luna. Rinsed clean. Didn’t leave my skin feeling dried out. Good value!

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Keep Clear – Clarifying Tonic $10 for 4.15 fl. oz.

{currently don’t use an analogous product}
I generally don’t use toners because the only effect I usually see, if I see any at all, is skin that feels itchy and tight. First off, this product stinks. It’s a mix of eucalyptus and witch hazel and has this sharpness to it that I found off putting. Luckily it dissipates super fast and didn’t linger. Honestly, this product did nothing for me. I felt some tingling but that was it. My skin also felt dry after using and felt like it was dying for lotion. Definitely a fail but I’ve yet to find a toner that does anything beneficial for my skin.
TL;DR: Kinda stinks but dissipates quickly. Skin felt tingly and dry after use. If toners are your thing, you may want to give it a try, otherwise it’s a big ol’ pass for me.

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The Lightweight – Hydrator $12 for 2 fl. oz.

{currently using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream $29.50 for 1.7 oz.}
This lotion is what got me interested in Fourth Ray. The Lightweight contains Squalene which my current fave Kiehl’s has as well. First impressions, wow this lotion is very thin and runny. Not a great start. But, it was also fragrance free which is awesome. My first use of the lotion was after applying Sunday Riley U.F.O. and even with the oil already on my skin I had to use a ton of the lotion to feel hydrated. My second application was on a freshly washed face and it was the same thing, it took 5 pumps to really get a hydrated feeling into my skin. The lotion sinks in pretty well but I did have a bit of a shiny glow going on afterward. I was very pleased to see it didn’t bother my sensitive skin. So, yeah, The Lightweight lives up to it’s name, it’s incredibly light. For dry skin users, I think this is a great morning lotion to use before makeup because it’s so light that it won’t make your foundation slip off your face. But it’s not going to cut the mustard in the PM.
TL;DR: Runny and thin consistency. No fragrance. Not hydrating enough for very dry skin. Would work great under makeup because it is so light. Good value IF you want a light lotion.

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Later Hater – Spot Treatment $12 for 1 fl. oz.

{currently using Sunday Riley U.F.O. $80 for 1.18 oz or Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel $18 for 0.3 fl. oz.}
I get hormonal acne on my chin and nothing really helps it tbh. Sunday Riley U.F.O. helps the breakouts be a little less aggressive but doesn’t actually make them go away. Origins Super Spot Remover dries out blemishes but also leaves a flaky hellscape in it’s wake. From the appearance and ingredients, this is clearly a dupe for Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion which costs $17 for 1 oz. I’ve tried this on several small blemishes and results were hit and miss. Some were gone by the next morning but others were totally unchanged. All the spots treated were a little flaky but nothing crazy. The jury is still out.
TL;DR: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion dupe. Stinky. Inconsistent results. Less expensive than the original so worth a shot.

Overall, I feel like Fourth Ray is worth a look and possible addition to your skincare routine. If you don’t already have a basic routine going this is a pretty good place to start. I’m not a packaging snob by any means but the whole line has a very attractive and minimalist look that I found pleasing. It would look nice sitting on the counter if you’re into that. The bottles are thick and and when I accidentally dropped one it survived. The pumps are all easy to press and worked well. I’m not going to pretend to know the first thing about skincare ingredients but none of the products irritated my skin. The whole quartz thing feels like it’s there to be trendy but doesn’t actually do much. I didn’t feel like washing my face balanced my energy or put me in harmony with the world sadly. Your mileage my vary however. The line was hit and miss for me. I loved AM to the PM gel cleanser and can totally see myself repurchasing it in the future. I liked BFD cleansing oil and The Lightweight lotion and I can see myself using those up and perhaps repurchasing. I was not sold on Later Hater or Keep Clear but I’ll use them some more to decide one way or the other. So there you have it, my unbiased opinions!

Beauty · Loot · Makeup · Sales

Sephora Insider Shopping Event

Follow my blog with Bloglovin – Just wanting to formally claim my blog! 🙂

Time for Sephora’s Spring sale! While it’s not as much of a discount as the Fall sale, it’s still worth picking up some things. Here’s my wish list.

Drybar Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler – I tried a sample and really liked how it helped me get a second day out of my hair. The smell is not great but it dissipates pretty quickly.

Sunday Riley Power Couple Duo: Total Transformation Kit – I really liked the small sample I tried of Good Genes and I’m really interested in coupling it with the Luna Sleeping Night Oil. Is this stuff overpriced? Yes. But I started seeing results and really want to give it a longer trial period.

Shiseido Facial Cotton – These are such a splurge but I just can’t quit them. They are soooooo soft but yet don’t fall apart. Everything else feels like sandpaper compared. These are definitely best in slot for me.

Urban Decay Finger Brush – If you’ve read my past posts, I’m a huge fan of UD’s brushes. I need a short, dense, not overly soft brush and I’m hoping this one fits the bill. Specifically I hope it makes Tarte’s Make Believe in Yourself Palette usable because it is really finicky.

Sephora Collection Crystal Nail File – I LOVE this file and I want to stock up on a few extras! It’s a best in slot for sure. They aren’t rough, they don’t make your nails ragged and I’ve even smoothed down a callous on my foot with one. These are especially fab if you have acrylic nails because they let you buff out the growth without tearing up your skin. Even my husband thinks it’s magic.

Sephora Collection The Pointer Blending Sponges – Hoping these might help me get a better application for my under eye concealer. So far my beauty blender isn’t cutting it.

Tarte No Shower Happy Hour – I’m a sucker for a kit. My sister has raved about the Hair Goals Dry Shampoo but I want to trial it before committing to the large size since I’m sensitive to the overpowering fragrances most dry shampoos have. The rest of the goodies in the kit sound fun too!

I also want to pick up a liquid foundation to add into my rotation but I haven’t decided which one to buy. My skin has been crazy dry and my usual go-to powder foundations are just accentuating the dryness.

What are your must-haves for the sale?

*This is NOT a sponsored/affiliated post*

Beauty · Makeup

Sweet Libertine – Wicked as They Come

Sweet Libertine is a brand that’s new to me. They popped up on my radar after following author Delilah S. Dawson on Twitter. I’m a huge fan of Delilah S. Dawson and her various pen names. On a whim I picked up Wicked As They Come, the first book in her Blud series and I was hooked on the vampy goodness from then on out devouring all the rest of the books in the set and everything else she’s written. When she announced a collaboration with Sweet Libertine to do a line of eyeshadows based on the book series I knew I had to grab a few. After much deliberation I ended up picking Tightrope Girl, Magic Dust and Tsarina’s Kiss. I wear a lot of purples and roses and these all complimented each other. Unfortunately, Magic Dust sold out before I get this post up but there are still super limited quantities of the other two colors. The packaging was wonderful and shipping was incredibly fast. Along with my order I also received complimentary samples of four other eyeshadows. Overall, I was super pleased with the shadows. They are sparkly and rich. All three applied beautifully when wet which is what I recommend to get the most color bang for your buck. I also tested the shadows dry over primer and they work well there too but the color is more subtle. I wouldn’t recommend doing these dry without primer however. I also picked up a sample pack of their mineral concealers which are a product I’ve never tried before with any brand. The lavender is lovely for brightening up dull skin, the yellow helped minimize my dark under eye circles though it didn’t really conceal them, and the green did an adequate job of lessening my redness. Best of all, none of these powders bothered my overly sensitive skin. I also tried a sample of the Transluscent Beige Mineral Veil and it was super nice. I loved how silky it went on and the color was pale enough for my ghostly countenance. In all, I highly recommend both the eyeshadows and the book series they are based on.

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sweetlibertinehaul

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Fyi, the messy jars are 100% my doing. I wanted to show off the colors. The jars came perfectly packaged and clean with a sticker over the sifter.

Also, all of these items were purchased by me.

Beauty · Loot

Beauty.com Loot

As most already know, Beauty.com and Drugstore.com are being shuttered by Walgreens at the end of September. I took advantage of the generous friends and family coupon last week and bought a few goodies.

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Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Yeah, I guess I’ve been living under a rock and I’ve never tried this product. I just picked up the travel size to see if I liked it. I’m partial to Kat Von D’s High Voltage Eye Primer but it has a yellowish cast to it that doesn’t work well under some colors of eyeshadow. First impression of UD’s Primer Potion, it is definitely worth the hype. I liked the slippy application which really let me get it all over my eyelid before it set. It also doesn’t have a weird tint to it so colors look more true. As for wear, I still like KVD’s primer better as it has a longer wear time but UD was no slouch either. At any rate, it’s a great product and I can see myself getting the full size once this runs down.

tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Light Neutral. Ok, so I’ve reallllly wanted to try this foundation for a while and I figured now was the time. Unfortunately there were not that many color options left on Beauty when I went to go buy so I took a chance and went with Light Neutral. And, it’s a bit too dark but I think I can make it work. I am not sold on the packaging. It’s loose powder in a sifter jar but the problem comes from the weird concave lid which doesn’t let you really swirl the powder onto your brush. I ended up grabbing a little dish to swirl on and that worked fine but was more fiddly than I like. As for the foundation itself, it’s super buildable and offers some great coverage. I’ll need to play with it a bit more and I’ll come back with a report.

Evologie Stay Clear Cleanser. Evologie was a brand I had never heard of until I received a sample of their Intensive Blemish Serum in a Birchbox. I totally fell in love with it so I’ve been wanting to try their other products. I can only give the barest of first impressions as I’ve only used it once. I liked the size of the product, you don’t really need much to get a full lather on. I used it with my Foreo Luna and my skin felt super clean afterwards though a bit on the dry and tight side. Luckily, my skin wasn’t irritated at all. I’m interested to see if combined with the blemish serum if it will help tame my occasional but super irritating chin breakouts.

RAMY Tweezers & Grooming Scissors by Tweezerman. Full disclosure, I have no idea who RAMY is or why he’s designing scissors and tweezers. But, he did a great job. I’ve been using the same dinky little tweezers for ages and they were mostly fine. But I wanted something MOAR. These tweezers managed to grab even the tiniest stupid hairs and hang on to them to pull them out cleanly. Definitely worth the splurge. I bought the scissors to use on my dog because they are wee and have rounded tips. Little grooming scissors are the easiest way to trim away the annoying little hairs that grow like mad around his eyes.

IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 2 The Romantics! Palette. That name’s a mouthful. I’m such a sucker for eyeshadow palettes. They get me every damn time and I can not resist. It’s like a sickness. I picked up this palette even though it has tocopheryl acetate in it and if you read my screed on vitamin E you know I’m usually allergic to it. But, I was gifted an IT palette a while back that had very similar ingredients and never had an issue with it so I decided to roll the dice. So far, no irritation! Hooray! I’m into pastels right now so this palette was right up my alley. With the exception of some of the darker colors, the light colors are super sheer and need to be built up or applied wet to really get some color payoff. A primer is an absolute must unless you want the faintest of color wash. This palette has a soft velvety case that I’m sure will be dirty in no time flat but it sure is fun to pet and call my precious. I’d do some swatches but honestly I’d do a crap job and there are already excellent swatch pics floating around for your swatch viewing pleasure.

Last up, Invisibobble Original: The Traceless Hair Ring. Sounds like a D movie title. I wear my hair up almost exclusively when I’m at home because I live in the desert and am always hot. I, however, hate the funky crease I get in my hair whenever I take it down. So this thing, it still creases my hair. But, on the upside, it’s super comfortable to wear. I haven’t had a hair headache since using it. I’ve also found that my hair stays put far better than with a traditional elastic band so that’s a nice bonus.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my order came in four separate boxes, one of which only contained one solitary sad little sample packet. The wastefulness made me cringe but at least the box can be recycled. I also didn’t get the order in 1-3 days either but oh well.

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Beauty · Rants

Birchbox Sadness

The gist of this post: Birchbox is scuttling their reward points for reviews feature in July 2016 and I’m salty about that.

I like subscription boxes. They are like a little present every month. Sure, the size of the samples are typically abysmally small and half the time I’m unable to use a product because it’s swimming with Vitamin E but I love them nonetheless. I’ve tried a bunch of different boxes but the one that was my all time fave was Birchbox. Why? Well it wasn’t for the size of the samples I’ll tell you that much. No, it was because they rewarded points for writing reviews. I loved this feature so much that I’ve stayed subbed to Birchbox far longer than I probably would have. Obviously I loved it because if I wrote a review for each of the five samples I received I’d be rewarded with 50 points and after four months of reviews I’d earn $20 off my next purchase which was always a huge incentive to buy things from Birchbox. That approach seemed like a win-win to me. I also liked that I wouldn’t let my samples gather dust every month waiting for a good opportunity to use them. Instead, I’d try them all within the month so I could write my reviews. Now, in fairness, I always took my time to write useful reviews that I hoped were helpful instead of just writing nonsense so I could meet the minimum word count. But, I felt like I saw vastly more thoughtful reviews than just junk when I’d browse products and that was always really useful when making purchases. I’ve opted to make more purchases from Birchbox than other similar retailers because of this whole reward point system. I felt like I was being rewarded for my loyalty and time and as such I would return that favor. But Birchbox no longer wants to reward subscribers for writing reviews. Instead they will now only reward points for the FIRST five sample reviews and then NEVER again. It’s their prerogative to do so but in my case it’s going to hurt them. I will be cancelling my sub to voice my displeasure over losing this.

Beauty · Health

Vitamin E

So my love of beauty and makeup products continues to be foiled by a little ingredient called tocopheryl acetate. You are likely more familiar with it’s more commonly used name, Vitamin E. Back when I was a kid I found out I was highly allergic to the stuff. My mom had bought a bottle of those little vitamin E caplets for my sister to use to help soften a scar she had. We’d all heard how wonderful vitamin E is for all things skin related so I figured if it helped with scars I bet it would help make my skin softer. So I broke open a caplet and spread that stuff ALL over my face. Next morning my skin was covered in red, angry hives. All from the vitamin E. Needless to say, I’ve tried to be diligent about ingredient checking since then. Unfortunately, vitamin E is in EVERYTHING. From cereals to nail creams, it’s been a struggle to find products without it. Vitamin E is one of those things that is heralded as a miracle ingredient and then included in everything. Over the years, I’ve come to learn that not all vitamin E is created equal. Many ingredients, like almond oil, are naturally high in vitamin E and I’ve typically been able to tolerate those products. And recently I used a face product that had tocopherol instead of tocopheryl acetate in it and was also able to tolerate it. So, in my entirely non scientific study of a sample size of one, synthetic vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) is what causes my allergic reactions.

Something I’ve wanted to do for a while is compile a list of products that either do not included tocopheryl acetate or happen to be one of the few products that didn’t irritate my skin. And I plan to do that here! Rejoice fellow vitamin E allergic friends!